Welcome to The Book Nympho, Cindy! I'm excited about this interview as romantic suspense is one of my most favorite genres, especially where there's lots of action, and you have two exciting series with a third recently launched.
Before we talk about your books, I'd like to learn more about you.
- You weren't always a writer and had some interesting jobs, including a policy specialist for DHS and a seamstress. Were you writing then? When did you make the commitment to pursue writing seriously?
Wow. You’ve done your homework. Yes, I worked several jobs before I started writing and then I both wrote and worked for wages until about 10 years ago when I made writing my full time gig. Regardless, I always took it seriously.
- I've noticed that a lot of romantic suspense authors began by first writing category romance. How do you feel it helped you, if at all, in transitioning to where you are today?
I cut my teeth in category – love it to this day. In category, relationships were key and the romance carried 90 % of the story so I learned how to draw the most emotion from my characters. That absolutely plays in my favor with my single title releases.
- That makes perfect sense. Now, why romantic suspense/adventure? Do these stories occur to you more naturally than the contemporary romances?
I love contemporary romance – but that’s basically what I wrote for a number of years. So I decided that when I tossed my hat into the single title ring I wanted to try something different. I loved to read romantic suspense and thrillers so it was a natural transition for me.
- I saw pictures of your "cave" where you do your writing. How does it inspire or help you creatively, or does your environment even matter?
I’m a nester so yes, my cave does matter. I love being surrounded by things that make me comfy and made sure I did that in my office. I recently added a 90 gallon fresh water aquarium – so I have many zen moments watching my fishies LOL
- I’d love to see that aquarium and just the idea of it is relaxing. Many writers seem to have a regimen for creating their stories and getting their books written. Do you have any regular habits that seem to work for you?
Oh I wish I did but sadly each book is like reinventing the process all over again.
- There are a lot of action shows and movies out there today. Do you watch any of them and, if so, do you find yourself editing or critiquing the stories?
I’m a big fan of TV and movies. I watch both to enjoy and be entertained. If I do find myself editing or critiquing negatively, I turn the channel and have been known to walk out of a movie.
- I’m hoping that doesn’t happen a lot but it has to be hard to just turn it off. So often I read stories in this genre and mystery/suspense that seem to closely imitate life. Do you leverage current events for story ideas? Any concerns about certain situations becoming dated when political events significantly alter the landscape?
Global politics are like a moving target. Everything changes all the time. I can’t let myself worry that a plot point might be old news in six months. What I do, though, is try to keep my plots fresh and plausible and topical without pinning myself down to a specific conflict that is currently in the news.
- There are other writers in this genre who are quick to define their books from others. How would you distinguish your work?
I’m a big fan of the genre – unfortunately, I don’t seem to find time to read all those other fantastic authors so I have no idea what might distinguish my work from theirs. I do know that with each book I attempt to bring a fresh perspective, intriguing characters and a plot line that is rich with intrigue and suspense. Hopefully it’s working. Oh – and I never forget that my readers are primarily romance readers. They want romance and I’m more than happy to give an emotionally charged and evocative relationship woven throughout the story.
- From what I’ve read thus far, it’s working. You're now a NY Times best selling author and have won awards for your books. First, tell us what that moment was like when you learned your book was on the list. And, now that you've achieved that distinction, what other goals do you have for your writing?
I just want to keep writing and selling and making my readers happy :o)
- I also read that being a rock star is your fantasy profession. Any chance of that ever being a reality?
I’m afraid that ship has sailed. LOL
- Just thought I’d ask! I'd like to shift now and focus on your body of work since you began writing single title romantic suspense. Do your books have more emphasis on the romance, the action/suspense or are they fairly balanced? How would you rate the "steam" aspect?
Again, I know what my readers want. Hot guys, great action, steamy romance and believable plots. So I try to keep the balance around 50 50. As for the heat index = let’s just go with steamy :o)
- We LOVE steamy:) Many writers I've had the opportunity to talk to must do quite a bit of research in order for their stories to ring authentic. What's your approach and do you sometimes use consultants?
I research heavily – on line, newspapers, documentaries, books etc. My stories are set all over the globe so it calls for some intensive research. And yes, I have what I call a ‘boom boom’ specialist – a good friend who I consult with when I need help with weaponry or action scenes.
- You have two series and are about to launch the third. Your first was The Bodyguards; what can you tell us about that series and are there more books planned for it?
The Bodyguards features 4 siblings (and later 2 friends) who are either former secret service or military who take over their father’s securities firm. Half of the stories are set in the US and the other half is set out of the country. I loved the family dynamics and the hero and heroine relationships in each book as they struggled to become the people they were meant to be.
- Your next series was Black Ops; how does it differ from The Bodyguards? Why did you decide to start another series instead of continuing the existing one?
BOI is a covert paramilitary group based out of Buenos Aires Argentina that works off the grid for Uncle Sam. Their books were all set in foreign locals and were much grittier and the outcome had more of a global impact. The reason I did not continue the series is because I didn’t want it to lose the high energy and edge plus I wanted to give my readers a different slant. Some new blood, so to speak. Having said that, however, One-Eyed Jacks features the same type of alpha hotties the other two series are known for. Also, you’ll be seeing cameo appearances by many members of the BOI team in the new series.
- Speaking of One-Eyed Jacks, your new series, it begins with the book titled Killing Time. First, what is the significance of the series' title?
The One Eyed Jacks (a multi-branch military task force formed in 2002 and disbanded in 2005) got their nick name because of the uniqueness of their experimental unit, their tight camaraderie, their slightly reckless reputation, their favorite downtime/pastime of high stakes poker and because each of them made a pact to always carry a One Eyed Jack playing card (either a Jack of hearts or a Jack of spades) as their lucky charm and a sign of unity. Only three men of the original detail are still alive – Mike Brown, Bobby Taggart, Jamie Cooper. On their last mission in Afghanistan, all three were dealt a losing hand and now share one common bond: The military that they proudly served had cut them loose eight years ago with a ‘less than honorable’ discharge when their team led a covert operation that went south and the powers that be laid the blame squarely on their shoulders. Now Brown, Taggart and Cooper lead separate lives in separate countries, have all dropped out of ‘normal society’ and not only live with the lie that led to their military separation but with the weight of the deaths of both their task force team members and several innocent civilians haunting them. For these three men, life is now all about getting by, about forgetting the past, dealing with the anger and coping with the hand they’ve been dealt. None of them intend to break the status quo – until a mysterious woman confronts and forces Brown to ask questions about what really happened in Afghanistan and how those events played into a current national security threat. She dangles bait Brown can’t resist – the means to clear his name, deliver justice and expose the master mind behind the death of his teammates and his own downfall.
- After having read this first book, which I loved, there are at least two characters I'd like to see get their own stories. Do you have an initial idea of the number of books planned for One-Eyed Jacks?
I had initially planned 2 more books in the One Eyed Jacks series – RUNNING BLIND and TAKING FIRE. I’ve since been given the opportunity to write a 4th book, one that will come out next December (just in time for Christmas!!) that’s a bonus book in the series. I’m so excited about THE WAY HOME. It’s a homecoming story featuring Tyler Brown (Mike’s brother) and is a little different book than I usually write. Still romance, still suspense, still features our black ops warriors, but THE WAY HOME has a little something extra ... something that is leading me on a very special journey as I write it.
- That’s fantastic and I was hoping to hear there would be more than three! I’m also intrigued about The Way Home. But, let's talk more about Killing Time. The book is written from both main characters' (Eva and Mike) points of view. What's your perspective in choosing this narrative style?
I’ve always written from both the hero and heroine’s POV and in third person. It’s simply an element of the craft that works for me.
- Mike Brown, the hero in the story, appeared in your Black Ops series in, I think, Last Man Standing, the 7th book in the series. Did you have plans for him at the time you wrote that story?
Mike actually made his first appearance in book 6, WITH NO REMORSE. At that time, I simply needed an additional character to help the BOIs out of a jam – and Mike showed up for the job. He wasn’t intended to be a repeat character but the minute he walked onto the page, I knew this guy was something special. So I used him again in LAST MAN STANDING and already knew at that time that he’d have his own book. I just needed to find the right vehicle for him.
- Many readers of a series (including me) like seeing characters continue in some way in subsequent stories. Will we see Mike and Eva again? What's your thinking about character continuation?
My characters really do become like family to me – and apparently to my readers as well, because I hear all the time how they want to see more of them. So, yes, we will see Mike and Eva again = both play pivotal roles in Running Blind.
- I was hoping you’d say this as some characters from your Black Ops series appear in the story. Do you plan to continue having character crossover?
Absolutely. When you’ve got a good thing going, it’s a shame to waste an opportunity LOL
- You’ll get no opposition from me:) The cover includes a full (hot) shot of the hero, unlike many others trending recently with only the lower body from the chin down. What are your thoughts about your covers? Do you participate in the selection?
I love the covers the art department has come up with for all my books. I’m asked at the concept stage what I’d like to see or not see. But for the most part, I just let them have at it. Rarely have I ever been disappointed in a cover and if I am, then they go back to the drawing board. They always come up with something great.
Well, I’m definitely a fan of this one. Killing Time is now available from most book distributors. Also, check out the other series by Cindy. We've provided the link to her website for more information.
Cindy, thank you for spending time with us today and letting our followers learn more about you and your exciting stories. I'll let you have the last word for anything else you'd like our audience to know.
Both the Body Guard and the Black Ops., Inc. series have been quite the rides for me. I’ve been as sorry as my readers to let those series end. But I’m so happy to tell you all that in the One-Eyed Jacks series, I think I’ve hit on something equally as special – maybe even more so in it’s own way. I’ll be so eager to hear what everyone thinks of Mike and Eva’s book.
Thanks so much for inviting me.
(One Eyed Jacks #1)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: January 22, 2013
For the seven years after Operation Slam Dunk went south, Mike Brown got drunk on each anniversary. The eighth year was no different--until he was drugged by a woman and woke up to her questions about what had happened eight years ago in Afghanistan. CIA attorney Eva Salinas has her own theory behind what happened to Mike's team--which included her husband--in Afghanistan eight years ago, and she's determined to prove foul play. Though she doesn't trust him, Mike is the only person she can turn to for help. Under an assumed name, Eva convinces Mike to assemble a new team and go after the traitor who screwed up both their lives. As they track down the rogue who started it all, Eva and Mike discover they can't live without each other. But can they stay alive while an enemy is still on the loose?
The only thing Cindy had in mind when she started writing her first book was finishing it. The issue of actually selling it came much later. Only after she made that life-altering first sale did she realize that one book would never be enough. Now, over 20 books and numerous awards later, Cindy laughingly admits that she can barely remember life before...well, was there life before writing? Actually, yes there was, and still is. A professional career woman, Cindy is a trainer for the Iowa Department of Human Services, a position she states is both challenging and rewarding. "Human Services is a front-line, real-life event. Everything about the job is immediate, from serving families in crisis, to assisting staff with difficult situations, to meeting tension-fraught deadlines."
Cindy's writing has netted her spots on bestseller lists, numerous RT nominations and awards, the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, a National Reader's Choice Award and two RITA nominations. Between writing and working full time you wouldn't think Cindy would have much time for anything else. And while she does find her work and her writing rewarding, there does have to be more. Cindy has more. Much more. She is happily married to the perfect man. Tom's a cowboy, ladies!
Both Tom and Cindy enjoy gardening and have recently expanded their annual beds into a perennial garden. Cindy says she can hardly wait for spring and the promise of all that reawakening and the colorful blooms. In addition to the horses, the Gerards have two dogs, Ellie and Boomer, who pretty much get anything they want. Tom and Cindy have one son, Kyle, who, after years of keeping them in suspense, found Eileen, the perfect woman.
Connect with Cindy: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Cindy's Amazon Page
a Rafflecopter giveaway
There is also a Grand Prize drawing of a $25.00 Gift Card (Amazon or B&N) and an autographed copy of KILLING TIME for one lucky winner that follows the tour and leaves a comment at every stop.
To enter the Grand Prize drawing CLICK HERE!
KILLING TIME Blog Tour Schedule:
1/14 - Books-n-Kisses
1/15 - Under the Covers
1/16 - Just Romantic Suspense
1/17 - United by Books
1/18 - Reading Between the Wines
1/20 - Book Lovin Mamas
1/21 - The Reading Café
1/22 - Cocktails and Books
1/23 - Romancing the Book
1/24 - Ramblings From This Chick
1/25 - Sizzling Hot Books
1/26 - Bookworm 2 Bookworm
1/27 - My Secret Romance
1/28 - All Things Books
1/29 - RR@H Novel Thoughts
1/30 - Romance Crush Junkies
1/31 - Pimpin' Reads
2/01 - The Book Nympho